Sunday, January 29, 2017

Lottery Ticket Lucky

Thursday, January 19, was so lucky for me, I had to buy a lottery ticket.

First, I woke up to a 3x5 inch picture of my face on the cover of the Lifestyles section of my local Gulf Breeze News, and no, it's not a mug shot! Thanks to Lisa Newell, who told my town about The Existence of Pity. My daughter said people were congratulating her in the high school halls.

Then, at 2:31 pm, I got a message from The Book Doctors. They had written an article about me and put it in The Huffington Post. Yeah, you read that right, THE Huffington Post!

But my luck didn't stop there. My older daughter and I were traveling that day, heading to her home for six months in Virginia. (She's taking a gap semester and serving AmeriCorps at a beautiful state park.) On our way through North Carolina, we stopped at Red Adept Publishing and I got to meet Lynn McNamee, the woman who made my dream of publishing a book come true. Her dog Cody is adorable, and so is Louie!

Now THAT'S what I call a red-letter day, so of course I had to buy a lottery ticket. And guess what?? I didn't win. But I still feel so lucky, and grateful!

Once more with the links to the two articles: Gulf Breeze News and The Huffington Post.

Monday, January 16, 2017

A Hurricane of Love at La Ermita

Built in 1678,  the small Catholic church called La Ermita (The Hermitage) was a simple structure on the Rio Cali. When an earthquake destroyed it in 1925, rebuilding it to it's current beauty took from 1930 to 1942. Now you'll find images of La Ermita in every montage, collage, or homage to the city of Cali. It's the jewel of Cali's crown.
This neo-gothic church is inspired by the Ulm Cathedral, Germany, although it's a miniature of the giant original.
On a visit to Colombia with my family two years ago, we stopped at the church and my daughter and I stepped inside while a service was in progress. We only stayed a few moments -- to breathe in the atmosphere and to feast our eyes on the beauty -- and in those few moments, the words of the kind priest pulled me in. "Let us offer the world a hurricane of love," he said. I've been through hurricanes. That's a lot of love.
La Ermita plays a pivotal role in my novel, The Existence of Pity. Here's an excerpt.

All my life, I had seen La Ermita in passing, and I had studied the gray and white spires that were so ornate they looked as thought they belonged in Europe. I smiled at La Ermita's elaborate steeple, which reached toward heaven, not one bit sorry for its extravagance.
"Venga, mona, we don't have all day," Blanca said, pulling me inside the sanctuary. "I still have work to do when we get home."
Photos by Chris Zokan
She opened one of the heavy doors, and the beauty of the church stole my breath. I took two steps in, admiring the stained-glass windows, the large statues, and the altars. Our Baptist church was nowhere near as beautiful. In our church, simple rows of wooden pews faced a pulpit and a pool to baptize those who wanted to be born again. In La Ermita, I could feel the presence of something greater than myself something that had been there long before me and would remain long after I was gone. Our church had love, but in the Catholic church was... majesty.  

Want to read more? Click on the cover of The Existence of Pity for your own copy.